Robert and Clara Schumann

We have touched briefly once before on Robert Schumann’s parents (https://mtochambermusic.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/johanna-schumann/) and on the relationship that the Schumann’s had with Johannes Brahms (https://mtochambermusic.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/brahms-and-friendship/) but we haven’t really written about the Schumann’s as either a couple or individually. This week let’s look briefly at the couple.

Robert Schumann was 9 years older than Clara and a pupil of her father. They met when Clara was a young teenager and the relationship developed over a few years. Robert was a bit of a womanizer in his school days. But his relationship with Clara seemed to change that. When he decided to tell Clara’s father of his intention to marry her, Robert was met with resistance. A lot of hostile resistance. The couple spent two years in a legal battle with her father, Frederick Wieck. They won the case and married one day before Clara’s 21st birthday – when she no longer would have needed her father’s permission to marry. They did eventually reconcile with her father a few years later.

They were a good match. Robert, while a brilliant composer, was not a well man and was eventually committed to an asylum at his own request. Clara, an accomplished pianist, had a keen business sense. She encouraged her husband in his compositions and critiqued when required. She helped grow interest in her husband’s music while he was alive and for years after his death. While they created a business together, they also created a family. With seven surviving children and two working parents, it was sure to be a busy household!

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